This dedication to Florence Vinson-Walker, by her children, originally appeared in the 1996 Patterson-Smith Reunion program. It is shown here unedited and reprinted here in its entirety.
A Tribute to Florence "Stagelee" Vinson-Walker
Momma is a common word for Mother used by us all, yet taken lightly by many. We ( Charles, Connie, Paulette, Pearline, Sharon and Patricia would like to express our definition of our Mother.
Even as a grown man, she nurtured me in many ways. Momma was there with me, for me, inspiring me, encouraging me, but most of all strengthening me, regardless to what every situation I faced. There was so many moment we shared that still blesses me to this day. When every I glance backward over the years God graciously allowed us to have I smile. Theres one particularly time that sticks out. Id went to Asheville visiting from Bridgeport for the summer. Momma was standing outside, as I walked up I asked whos car was that, hugging and kissing her at the same time. She stepped back and asked if I liked it, I replied yes, she said it yours. The glow on her face, lit up my life at that moment. It was a 1971 Chev, with a cassette tape player, Thats just one small moment out of many in my life I shared with her. She always went far beyond the duty of just being a Momma, providing for us through the tuff times. But not only for us, but anyone she could do anything for she would. I smile to this day when every I think on my Mother.
In 1976 I wrote a poem for Mothers Day, a graphics arts friend, made the card for me. Id just wrote down things I felt about her and how much Id appreciated having her as my mother. On Mothers Day I gave the card to her, she asked me to come and read it, I did. After reading the card, I said I wrote it. When I looked up at her tears flowing down her face. I asked why was she crying, she replied "you said so many beautiful things about me", I didnt know you could write poetry. Momma I didnt know either until I started to write about you. After that day everytime I came home from Atlanta, she wanted me to read my poems to her. There were many times she had hugged me, but that Mothers Day hug I can still feel to this day.
Paulette & Pearline:
Her girls, she was so determine to provide and take care of them. Mommy would rub there legs and arms, faithfully, hope remained in her heart for improvement with them. She, always talked about being able to take care of us. Its was hard for her to let go.
Momma to me was my best friend, she was my mother first, but still my best friend. My buddy, soul mate, my confidant, my sidekick to the end, my friend, my Mother I could share anything, ask many questions, she would listen and answer. She always was a Mother. She would do anything she could to aide anyone that may come her way. She would always say, she wanted all of us to graduate from High School that was her dream. Well my day came, "GRADUATION" she exclaimed. It just so happen to be the same day as her birthday June 9, 1977. When I got home that night I handed her my diploma and said "Happy Birthday". The joy in her face that night lights my pathway yesterday, today and the tomorrows I face. !!!
Momma !!! where are you? She need to come on. (Coach) Know, lets wait five (5) more minutes, shes never missed a game. Yes, I laugh every time I think about that night. Momma was about (10) minutes late. They (my coach) Ms. Butler would not let the game start until momma was there. She was my mother, but my basketballs team personal cheerleader. To look up in the stands and see her cheering me on was truly a thrill as I travel up and down the basketball court. Everything Ive achieved playing basketball was for my Mother!!
A Mother, Grandmother, Sister, Aunt and friend truly that she was, any women can be a Momma, but we can truly say, as her children we had a "MOTHER" !!!. With the love, and guidance she instilled in her children, is now passed on to their children.
Thanking God for all the times weve shared.
Love your Children, Grandchildren & Great-Grandchildren.